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GF&P enters final month of tail collection for SD Nest Predator Bounty Program

GF&P (1).jpg

With the incentive related to the program half as much as a year ago, the South Dakota Nest Predator Bounty Program might not meet its overall goal but is collecting more tails per day than a year ago.

According to a South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks announcement Tuesday, as of June 16, 16,466 tails had been submitted by 745 people. The goal was to collect 50,000 tails again this year, but the program is paying half as much per tail — $5 per tail, instead of $10. The deadline for the program is July 1 and is capped at $250,000 for the entire payout.

In 2019, the inaugural year of the program offered $10 per nest predator tail from April 1 to Aug. 31 or until the $500,000 cap was hit. The cap was hit about three weeks early, ending on Aug. 12, 2019, after 50,000 tails were received from 3,000 participants. A total of 37,720 of those tails came from raccoons.

This year, the 2020 program started on April 1 but GF&P didn't accept tails until later due to COVID-19. Participants were asked to freeze all tails until submission dates and locations could be determined. GF&P began taking tails at the agency's office sites around the state on May 8. In the 40 days since GF&P started taking tails, they've received tails at a rate of about 422 per day, while GF&P collected them at a rate of 376 per day over 133 days in 2019.

The state has been looking for tails from striped skunks, opossums, red foxes, badgers and raccoons. The program was created to help duck and pheasant nesting and increase trapping participation, awareness and education, while trying to get the next generations of hunters and trappers involved in outdoor recreation.

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According to the state's database, about 13,100 of the tails submitted so far have been raccoon, or 79 percent of all tails. Minnehaha County is leading the state's tail submission count again this year, with 1,375 tails submitted, with Turner, Beadle, Sanborn and Roberts rounding out the top-5 counties.

Participants will receive $5 per tail for the species outlined above, and must submit the tail bone and entire tail of these species to receive payment. Participants can submit up to $595 worth of tails per household. Participants under the age of 18 and landowners harvesting nest predators from their own land are not required to have a license, with all others required to have a 2020 hunting, fishing or furbearer license.

Tails can be dropped off for each of the next two Fridays — June 19 and June 26 — and Wednesday, July 1 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Individuals who can't make dropoffs at those specific times can contact their local conservation officer or wildlife damage specialist and make an appointment for a time and place to submit their tails.

Regional sites for drop-off on June 19, June 26 and July 1 include:

  • Sioux Falls: Game, Fish and Parks Shop/DOT Complex (Not the Outdoor Campus): 5316 W. 60th St. North
  • Huron: Game, Fish and Parks Office: 895 Third St.
  • Chamberlain - Game, Fish and Parks Office: 1550 E. King Ave.
  • Fort Pierre - Game, Fish and Parks Office: 20641 SD Hwy 1806.

The following locations will be accepting tail submissions on June 17 and 24 from 5 to 7 p.m.

  • Mitchell: Game Fish and Parks Office: 3200 W. Havens Ave.
  • Madison: Lake Herman State Park: 23409 State Park Dr.
  • Midway Junction: Located at the corner of State Highway 46 and U.S. Highway 81.

Those dropping off tails should look for signage and GF&P staff that will be providing instructions and directing traffic. Due to COVID-19 precautions, individuals are asked to stay in their vehicle unless otherwise directed and follow signs and instructions for traffic flow. GF&P staff will come to the vehicle window to count tails and complete the paperwork and an electronic affidavit will be signed by GF&P staff with the participant's verbal consent. Individuals should be prepared to show a valid ID and their hunting or fishing license.

Related Topics: SOUTH DAKOTA
Traxler is the assistant editor and sports editor for the Mitchell Republic. He's worked for the newspaper since 2014 and has covered a wide variety of topics. He can be reached at mtraxler@mitchellrepublic.com.
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